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Sunday March 7, 2004

This guy deserves to be a former Governor. Excerpt,

Allowing more Minnesotans to carry concealed handguns "offers no benefits for public safety, and simply increases fear and anxiety," said Republican former Gov. Arne Carlson last week, as he helped launch a campaign to repeal Minnesota's 2003 conceal/carry law.

I bet this guy disagrees:

A burglar undetected during a police search of an East Side apartment early Saturday morning later crawled from beneath a bed and was shot in the head during a gunfight with a resident.

So would this guy:

An employee ran out of the back of a North Las Vegas used tire store with his gun blasting, killing a robber who had shot the store manager in the foot and hand Thursday afternoon.

So would this guy:

A man was reportedly shot and killed while trying to break into a home on Detroit's west side early Sunday morning. The 69-year-old homeowner shot and killed the man inside his home on the 8000 block of LaSalle Street, Local 4 reported.

So would this guy:

Burtnett, a 53-year-old former police officer, reflected on the dangers of his job as a night store clerk. Almost every two years for the past six years he's been faced with a similar scenario. He shot one robber twice in the leg, another fatally in the chest and in June 2001 critically wounded another man, who is now in prison, when he tried to pull off a pre-dawn robbery at the store.

So would this guy:

An intruder, 26, broke into the home through a basement window and tore down a curtain to tie over his face as a mask. The woman encountered him in the basement and he forced her up the stairs to confront her husband. Police said the husband, 73, was watching the movie on TV when the stranger approached, demanding money and holding 4-inch shears to the throat of the woman, also 73. The homeowner told the intruder he had to get his wallet from the bedroom, but he got a handgun instead. When he emerged, she pulled away and he opened fire. The robber grabbed the wife again and pulled her through the front door with him, but then let her go and ran. He collapsed across the street, where he was pronounced dead.

Handguns simply give ordinary honest law-abiding citizens the means to protect themselves against thugs. Face it, the bad guys already have guns. Missouri recently passed a conceal/carry law (which went to the State Supreme Court and was ruled constitutional). I'm all for the law. Will I get a permit to carry?--no. I don't think I need to. But for those citizens who do feel the need, I'm glad that they can avail themselves of the opportunity.

The Sweedes have developed a car exclusively designed by and for women:

So they developed a body-scanning system that enables the car to adjust seats, mirrors, pedals and the steering wheel to a woman's physique.

The center console is free of a gear shift to make room for a handbag.

Computerized assistance is provided for parallel parking.

The designers also created the car to be nearly maintenance-free, requiring an oil change only every 30,000 miles.

To avoid any suggestion that women don't like looking under the hood, there is no hood.

The paint and glass repel dirt, making the car "as easy to clean as a nonstick frying pan," said Volvo spokeswoman Anna Rosen.

There's even a giant ear which will pop out over the passenger seat and listen to all the driver's, how shall I say this..., "various pronouncements".

The long messy history of Haiti. We've gone in numerous times to restore "stability". Seems the only time it's stable is when we impose "stability". Here's a primer from The Cato Institute:

The first attempt to transform Haiti into a functioning country dates back to 1915, when an American president, frustrated by Haiti's endemic instability and civil strife, sent in the Marines. In the 72 years prior to the American takeover, wrote Frances Maclean in Smithsonian Magazine in 1993, Haiti had "102 civil wars, revolutions, insurrections, revolts and coups. Of 22 presidents, just one served a complete term. Only four died of natural causes." The Americans found a country in utter disarray. The streets were filthy, bridges had collapsed, and the telephone and telegraph systems were inoperable.

The Americans proceeded to fix many of Haiti's problems. They built roads and bridges and fixed the telephone lines and the irrigation systems. They set up hospitals and overhauled the Haitian sanitation system. Haitians were sent to the United States to study medicine, while American doctors treated the Haitian sick. The Americans also built schools and theatres and parks. Haitians were trained to produce field-crops, manage soil, raise cattle and grow tobacco.

But, in 1934, the Americans made -- so it would seem -- a fatal mistake: They pulled out. Soon Haiti was back to where it started. Thus, historian Robert Heinl, who visited Haiti in 1958, found the "telephones gone ... roads approaching non-existence ... ports obstructed by silt ... docks crumbling ... sanitation and electrification in precarious decline."

Saturday March 6, 2004

Read this from Iraq Now:

The border between Iraq and Kuwait is marked by an anti-tank ditch and a berm, and a Kuwaiti flag at the point where the road crosses the berm. And that's all. Just north of the berm, there's a little Iraqi town. I have no idea what the name of it is. There were hundreds of children lining the road as we drove out, begging for food. Soldiers were throwing MRE's out of their humvees as we drove by. Here and there, you'd see a veiled woman sitting by the side of the pocked and pitted, intermittently paved road. The houses, though average by Iraqi standards, were fairly destitute by anything approaching western norms. If the people had cars at all, they were practical wheels: a beat up pickup truck on its last legs. Not much more.

Five minutes south of the berm, in Kuwait, it looked for all the world like a posh Palm Springs highway. Almost every vehicle you saw was a high-dollar SUV or Mercedes sedan. The streets were well paved, and level. Streetsides were impeccably clean. Streetlamps worked. And there were no children begging in the streets.

Both countries are blessed with a wealth of natural resources. But only one had Saddam Hussein as a ruler for decades. And only one had to struggle under more than a decade of sanctions--however porous they were.

Two hundred meters.

A world apart.

Well, even the professionals get it wrong sometimes:

In the chaotic rush to report the Martha Stewart verdict live on television Friday, at least two networks initially called it wrong and had to quickly correct themselves. CNBC and MSNBC at first reported Stewart was not guilty on some of the four charges against her in the insider trading case. The jury convicted Stewart on all of the charges.

The culmination of a trial for a woman who built her homemaking empire in large part on television drew intense interest from TV networks. ABC, CBS and NBC broke into regular programming to report the verdicts.

Well, all the pundits agree that she'll probably be doing time (or is that thyme?)

Today is the 168th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo:

Even before the Texans declared their independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836 the Mexican army had already advanced into the state. In December 1835, a group of Texan (or Texians) had captured the town of B/xar. However, the Texans soon realized that B/xar was a main road to get throughout the state. The Camino Real (Old San Antonio Road) crossed the Rio Grande at Paso de Francia (San Antonio Crossing) and went northeast through San Antonio de B/xar, Bastrop, Nacogdoches, San Augustine and then into Louisiana. Two forts blocked this passage--Goliad and the Alamo.

James Clinton Neill commanded the Alamo and James Walker Fannin, Jr., commanded Goliad. A majority of their troops were composed of American volunteers who had recently arrived to the state. However both commanders knew that without reinforcements neither fort could keep the Mexican army at bay. Sometime in January, Sam Houston told Governor Henry Smith that Col. James Bowie and his volunteer company had left for San Antonio and it isbelieved that Houston wanted to abandon the Alamo but the governor did not approve the idea. The governor directed Lt. Col. William B. Travis to take his "legion of calvary" and report to the Alamo. Travis did not want to go and even threatened to quit. But Travis obeyed his orders and took 30 troopers to B/xar and they arrived on Feb. 3, 1836.

Santa Ana's army was eventually defeated in April of that year at the Battle of San Jacinto. At least half of the battle cry of the Texan's is familiar to most people: "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!"

Sounds like John Kerry is a unilateralist who will send U.S. troops into a country without a coalition and without the approval of the UN and the "International Community"

Had he been sitting in the Oval Office last weekend as rebel forces were threatening to enter Port-au-Prince, Senator John Kerry says he would have sent an international force to protect Haiti's widely disliked elected leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"I would have been prepared to send troops immediately, period," Mr. Kerry said on Friday, expressing astonishment that President Bush, who talks of supporting democratically elected leaders, withheld any aid and then helped spirit Mr. Aristide into exile after saying the United States could not protect him.

Kerry goes on to say:

"People will know I'm tough and I'm prepared to do what is necessary to defend the United States of America, and that includes the unilateral deployment of troops if necessary," said Mr. Kerry, who has rarely used the word "unilateral" in the campaign except to describe how Mr. Bush has alienated allies. "But my standard is very different from George Bush's."

Indeed, Mr. Kerry's standard, like that of most Democrats, is simply this: so long as the national security interests of the United States are not at risk (Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, The Congo, Haiti again) we are willing to send troops.

Doesn't it seem odd that our enemies always favor the Democrats?

But the Dear Leader is not the only one getting deferential treatment: Mr John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic candidate in the United States, is also getting good play in Pyongyang.

His speeches are being broadcast on Radio Pyongyang and reported in glowing terms by the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA).

The apparent enthusiasm for Mr Kerry may reflect little more than a 'better the devil you don't know' mentality among the North Korean apparatchiks.

Rather than dealing with President George W. Bush and his hawkish officials, they seem to hope victory for Mr Kerry would lead to a softening in US policy towards their nuclear weapons programme.

Well, that just goes to show that even ugly, brutal, evil dictators are not completely stupid. They clearly think they will get a better deal with a Democrat in the White House. Is it any wonder? Hello Mr. Clinton. Hello Mr. Carter.

Friday March 5, 2004

Boy, I wish I could write as well as Jim-Boy Lileks. He writes with such sharp wit and humor, but also sees quite clearly. Check out his latest Bleat. You really should read the whole thing, but here's a quick blurb:

The theme of the Democratic primaries was clear: Bush is the problem, not the war. Clarification: the "war." The "alleged" war. The "war" is a smokescreen to keep us in fear while a few top-hatted plutocrats convene in Texas to complete their grand strategy: we'll invade Iraq for reasons we know will fall apart, and then we'll turn the oil revenue over to the people under UN supervision, and the publicity will cause Halliburton stock to fall so we can buy it back at artificially depressed prices. Let's all do the secret Mason handshake! Right. Paging Oliver Stone: you're needed to script-doctor the third act, where Karl Rove's shocktroops put Bill Maher and Howard Stern in a trunk so they don't blow the whistle on the secret code in the electronic voting machines that returns a 99.9% mandate in the 2004 election.

Well, maybe we haven't found WMD's in Iraq (yet), but doesn't this cache in Libya--which was turned over as a direct result of our actions in Iraq--provide at least some vindication?

Libya acknowledged stockpiling 44,000 pounds of mustard gas and disclosed the location of a production plant in a declaration submitted Friday to the world's chemical weapons watchdog

Libya also declared thousands of tons of precursors that could be used to make sarin nerve gas, and two storage facilities, Pfirter said. The production and storage facilities were near Tripoli and in the south of the country, Pfirter said.

In the past week, Libya made the first concrete move to eliminate its stockpiles when it destroyed 3,300 bombs specifically intended to carry chemical payloads.

Wednesday March 3, 2004

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. It's an election year and the Dems are trying to run on the economy (and John Kerry's war record). They can't run on foreign policy because they are absolutely clueless when it comes to foreign policy. But there is one fly in the ointment--the economy's been rebounding for some time. What to do, what to do. Well, let's go after the most laggingest (hey, you just made up a word--ed.) indicator of a rebounding economy--Jobs. So it's all about jobs.

How do I know this? Well, look at the polls:

John Kerry attracted many voters in the Virginia Democratic primary who were angry or dissatisfied with President Bush and especially those eager for a victory in November, according to an Associated Press exit poll...The economy and jobs were the most important issue for voters picked by one-third.

Here's what Kerry will do:

The first thing John Kerry will do is fight his heart out to bring back the three million jobs that have been lost under George W. Bush. He will fight to restore the jobs lost under Bush in the first 500 days of his administration. Kerry has proposed creating jobs through a new manufacturing jobs credit, by investing in new energy industries, restoring technology, and stopping layoffs in education.

That would all be fine and dandy, if it weren't for this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this.

Perhaps John Kerry is so good he's bringing back jobs already.